Lenawee Community Foundation: A Legacy of caring and a future of impact

As we celebrate Tecumseh’s bicentennial, we also celebrate the enduring impact of the Lenawee Community Foundation (LCF), established in Tecumseh in 1997. Today, LCF is a philanthropic leader, a trusted giving partner, and a lasting support system for Lenawee County.

Establishing a Foundation
In the late1990s, a visionary group of local leaders recognized the potential positive impact a community foundation could have in Lenawee County. Inspired by the opportunity to secure a $1 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation, which required $2 million in locally raised matching funds and the establishment of a youth philanthropy program, they laid the groundwork for what would become the Lenawee Community Foundation.

The founders, which included community leaders Dave Hickman, Charles Gross, and Merlyn Downing, envisioned a community foundation that would grow consistent support for local causes and build the long-term health, happiness, and hope of Lenawee.

Expanding Impact
Today, the Lenawee Community Foundation exemplifies the strength of collective giving. With a mission to enhance the health, happiness, and hope of everyone in Lenawee County, the foundation pools donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations to fund grants, scholarships, and local initiatives that directly benefit the Lenawee community. LCF’s work is guided by the principle that “caring hearts build strong communities”. Each contribution is invested not just for today but forever, ensuring a lasting legacy of support.

The Lenawee Community Foundation’s approach is rooted in the hard-working, neighborly values of Lenawee County. By stewarding donor gifts, supporting local nonprofits, and operating the county’s volunteer center, LCF ensures that the community’s needs are met and its potential is realized. This is achieved through collaboration and innovation, which are at the heart of all its initiatives, from Lenawee Cares and Hunters Helping Lenawee to youth programs like the Imagination Library and the Lenawee Youth Council.

Grants and Funding
In Lenawee County, no one is alone—we’re all part of a caring, connected community. By supporting each other and working together, we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to experience health, happiness, and hope. LCF approaches funding in the same way, with connection and collaboration.

From granting to nonprofits and youth organizations to stewarding scholarship funds and sponsoring local initiatives, the Lenawee Community Foundation distributes funds to address community needs and enhance the overall wellbeing of everyone living here.

In Tecumseh, various funds managed by the Lenawee Community Foundation have made substantial contributions to the community, leading to notable enhancements across the area. These investments include support for the Tecumseh Center for the Arts, a $2 million contribution towards the construction of the AJ Smith Recreation Center, the recent downtown mural project, the expansion of the Kiwanis Trail, and many other significant initiatives.

Building for the Future with the Health, Happiness, and Hope Fund
Looking to the future, LCF is excited about the new Lenawee Health, Happiness, and Hope Fund (H3 Fund). This new community fund is designed to be flexible and responsive, meeting the evolving needs of Lenawee County. Lenawee’s community foundation is working in partnership with hundreds of donors to build a local set of resources to meet community needs and opportunities as they arise. The goal of raising $2 million by the end of 2024 for the H3 Fund is bold and speaks to the caring and generous spirit that marks our community. None of us can predict the future needs and opportunities that will arise. If we care about the vitality of Lenawee County beyond our lifetimes, we need to make sure there are flexible resources available for future generations. Our community’s new endowment at the Lenawee Community foundation will always be relevant to the needs of the day.

A Call to Join in Community Growth
The Lenawee Community Foundation appreciates and celebrates its roots in Tecumseh and its role in the broader narrative of Lenawee County. As we look back with gratitude on past accomplishments, we are even more excited about what the future holds. Together, we are not just preserving the legacy of our founders; we are actively building a foundation for a thriving community, ensuring that Lenawee remains a place of health, happiness, and hope for all who call it home.

— Bronna Kahle
President and CEO
Lenawee Community Foundation


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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